Looking for a way to start the next decade as you mean to go on? Then give the holiday hedonism a rest and take mind and body away on a fitness break. From Mexico to Menorca, Thailand to Tuscany, here’s our roundup of the very best places to run, jump, swim, bend, lift, eat, and meditate your way to improved fitness and health in 2020.

A woman wearing an exercise kit stands on a rock on the outside of a large cave and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
Bootcamps at Wildfitness in Menorca take advantage of the island's incredible natural environment © Wildfitness

Outdoor bootcamp in Menorca, Spain

The clue is in the name. Wildfitness is a company that specialises in taking all your favourite gym-based activities and moving them outside, using more "natural" equipment. Throwing, lifting, running and combat drills are all included, as well as a spot of sunrise yoga, stargazing and journaling to help feed your soul. You'll find wellness gains and a reconnection to the elements that we often take for granted. 

Getting there: Fly to Menorca. From £1155 for six nights including accommodation, meals, daily group sessions, workshops and a massage. The 2020 dates are to be confirmed.

Read more: 10 best marathons to run in 2020

Holistic heaven in Baja California, Mexico

Rancho La Puerta is an über-luxury wellness experience (Oprah comes here to unwind) in Baja California that will send you on your way feeling more relaxed than a sloth on spring break. Gaze out of your room window at the surrounding Kuchumaa mountains as you ponder whether to go for a walk in the 4000 acres of gardens, take a one-on-one yoga session, organise a sunrise trail run, investigate sound therapy or join in a drum dance class. The menu is meat-free, alcohol consumption is allowed but discouraged, phones are turned to silent and wi-fi spots are kept to a minimum.

Getting there: Fly to San Diego, where you will be provided with transfers to Tecate, Mexico. Rates available on request. 

Looking through a circular hole in a pristine white wall, a group of people lay on small benches while performing chest exercises; at their feet are barbells sitting on the artificial grass.
An outdoor Body Pump class at one of La Santa's countless fitness facilities © La Santa

Try something new in Lanzarote, Spain

Founded in 1983, Club La Santa is one of the original specialist fitness resorts. There are 400 rooms, four on-site restaurants and more activities than you can possibly get round in a week. The 10 tennis courts, water sports centre, golf putting green, 11 badminton courts, elite standard 400m running track, bike centre with 600 bikes for hire, and the three outdoor olympic swimming pools are all just the tip of the iceberg. 

Getting there: Fly to Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries. From £645 for seven nights. Sign up on a self-catering, half board or full board basis. 

Read more: 10 best wellness retreats to recharge for 2020

Bend and flex in Ko Samui, Thailand

Absolute Sanctuary is an extremely well-run generalist health spa in Ko Samui that has developed a bit of a reputation as a hotspot for dedicated yogis. There are 22 different wellness programmes available to sign up to, which last from three to 60 days (yes, sixty) covering areas such as detox, pampering, sleep improvement, de-stress, lifestyle change and more. And as you would expect for a place that hosts yoga teacher training retreats, there are more opportunities to hone your Humble Warrior than you can shake a stick at.  

Getting there: Fly to Samui. From £1000 for seven nights accommodation plus spa facilities. Wellness programmes are extra. 

A woman wearing a climbing harness stands on a near vertical rock wall and high-fives her instructor above; below are crashing waves.
The BodyHoliday resort on the island of St Lucia includes outdoor activities such as rappelling © BodyHoliday

All inclusive fun in Castries, St Lucia

"Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind," is the promise by the BodyHoliday resort. Visitors interpret that differently: some do nothing but sunbathe, eat and drink; others train like demons, while most opt for a middle ground. There are all the usual fitness classes and facilities you might imagine, as well as other fun ones such as rappelling, kayaking, archery and dance classes. A blackboard announces the schedule each day and you’ll find yourself thinking: "Hmmm... Fencing, I’ve always wanted to try that." 

Getting there: Fly to Hewanorra, St Lucia. From £2000 for a luxury room for seven nights, year round. 

Take to the trails in Girona, Spain

If your running routine is starting to get a bit stale, give it a good shake with a trip out to the Costa Brava on a specialist runners’ retreat. There are no endless laps of a track here – a previous trip included elements such as: a mid-run fuel stop at a 1000 year-old farmhouse for some sugared sausage (and a glug of wine); running on scented forest trails and along cave-pocked cliffs; picnicking in a secluded cave; sea kayaking; mountain biking; and a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant to replenish energy levels.

Getting there: Fly to Girona. From £760 for six nights. 

A group stand on a beach facing two fitness instructors; on the sand are mats, kettle bells and a white-board detailing the workout: rope slams x 50, tuck jumps x 20...
A beach holiday takes on a new meaning with 38°N in Ibiza © 38°N

DNA-based fitness in Ibiza, Spain

The original party island is probably not what you think of for a fitness Mecca but hosts 38°N will change the way you think about Ibiza. Using one of their partner five star hotels as a base, you’ll be working out on the beach and indoors with circuit classes, kickboxing sessions, pilates, runs up into the surrounding mountains and more. And if you’re a keen amateur athlete, you can add on an analysis of your DNA to personalise your training and nutrition and maximise your performance. Sun, sand and science.

Getting there: Fly to Ibiza. From £2500 for six nights including accommodation meals and activities.

Improve your gut health in Tuscany, Italy

In the heart of the rolling countryside of Tuscany, slow down, chill out and look inward at the former Medici palace of Fonteverde. The spa hotel offers a gut-health and anti-stress programme called Equilibrium, which encompasses a series of medical consultations, a battery of tests, a bespoke diet, numerous spa and wellbeing treatments (who knew a thermal mud wrap was "training"?), modest daily exercise, cookery lessons, plenty of sleep, and a personalised programme to take back home so you can keep up the incredible progress you’ve made in just a week. 

Getting there: Fly to Perugia. From £2680 for seven nights plus the Equilibrium programme. 

Two women stand on yoga mats atop a wooden floor and do the same warrior position: arms raised, hands together and legs placed wide apart.
It's not all about healthy drinking at Juicy Oasis, there are plenty of activities on tap © Juicy Oasis

Get juiced up in Sertã, Portugal

Juicy Oasis, in a tiny village two hours north of Lisbon, is a luxury retreat where one thing you won’t be doing is eating. This might sound bonkers, but take it from us – you feel amazing afterwards. On a diet of four pints of various different juices and smoothies per day, you’ll be able to do spin classes, sunrise hikes, beach volleyball and much more. More sedate activities include swimming in the river, sunbathing by the pool, attending one of the nutrition seminars or indulging in a spa treatment.

Getting there: Fly to Lisbon. From £795 for seven nights all inclusive, year round. 

Get fit out at sea in the Mediterranean 

These Mediterranean Sun Fun You cruises run between the Greek Islands of Kos, Rhodes, and Samos, as well as between the ports of Marmaris and Fethiye along the Turkish coastline – and on each you’ll experience a mixture of fitness, cultural and relaxation activities. Each day there are on-deck fitness classes (think HIIT and yoga), snorkelling and swimming, and when you pull into port there are mountain hikes and trail runs. There are also trips to hammams, belly dancing classes, museum jaunts and more. It's all fueled by super fresh local produce, including fish caught off the side of the boat.

Getting there: Fly to Kos or Dalaman. Trips are seven- to nine-days and run from June to October.  

You might also like: 
Sober travel: how to have a great night out in Europe’s top cities without alcohol
8 of the most unusual fitness classes around the world
10 best marathons to run in 2020

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This article was first published November 2019 and updated January 2020

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